30 Sep 2017

Sensing water quality

From This Way Up, 12:30 pm on 30 September 2017
The RiverWatch sensor

The RiverWatch sensor Photo: (RiverWatch Facebook page)

Didymo or rock snot, nitrates, stock in streams, effluent, dirty dairying...over the past decade water quality and the health of our streams, lakes and rivers has become a major deal for many New Zealanders. And as the recent election campaign showed, it's become a political issue that wins and loses votes too.

So how can you tell if the water quality of your local stream or river is improving or not?

Grant Muir is a farmer and fisherman living in the Wairarapa and saw first hand the impact that poor water quality had on his local stream. So he developed a solar-powered, portable water tester that measures the health of your H2O and how it is changes over time. 

Grant Muir of RiverWatch

Grant Muir of RiverWatch Photo: (RiverWatch Facebook page)

It's way cheaper- about one-tenth of the cost- of other water testing devices on the market. And as these more expensive testers only take a snapshot at the time they are in the water, he's hoping that his RiverWatch device lets more communities get involved in policing the state of their local waterway.

RiverWatch sensor cross section

RiverWatch sensor cross section Photo: (RiverWatch Facebook page)